Next weekend, flaxen-haired Vogue contributing editor Lauren Davis will swap vows with her longtime beau, the Colombian heir Andres Santo Domingo, in what's already been dubbed "the first real society wedding of the century." Four hundred of the couple's nearest and dearest are jetting to Cartagena, Colombia, to cheer on Davis as she glides down the aisle in a custom-made "dream fantasy" gown by Olivier Theyskens. The social set adores this sort of pageantry; it's their version of the Super Bowl. And Davis has called her plays like the most assured of quarterbacks: an exclusive and exotic locale; lush flower arrangements by Raul Avila, who oversees the Costume Institute gala; and nine photogenic bridesmaids (Tinsley Mortimer and Fabiola Beracasa among them), each clad in a dress by a different designer.
Of course, she's hardly the first well-connected beauty to tie the knot with such grandeur. Duty Free heiress Pia Miller said "I do" to oil scion Christopher Getty on a Bali mountaintop in 1992 as hundreds of Indonesian children showered the couple with rose petals. Vanisha Mittal, the daughter of steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, capped off her five-day, $60 million bonanza in 2005 with a private concert by pop star Kylie Minogue. And let's not forget the holy trinity of society weddings: Grace Kelly's fairy-tale nuptials, Princess Diana's royal extravaganza, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's little-chapel-in-the-woods ceremony. Amen. Why do socialites make for such memorable brides? Maybe because it's the ultimate hostess gigthat would explain why some go for multiple rounds. Following the first of what would be four trips down the aisle, a 17-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt gushed to reporters, "What can one say about a first marriage, except that it's wonderful?"